Letters to the Editor

Why should ‘foot soldiers' in public sector be made to suffer?

WHILE Education Authority chief executive Gavin Boyd’s email and views of the management side were appreciated, I would like to take issue with aspects of the correspondence.

Under the section ‘teachers’ pay’ it states that the average pay for teachers in the north of Ireland is just over £40,000. I have been teaching for 13 years and am currently on UPS 3 on the pay scale and my salary is nowhere near £40,000 as stated. Indeed in the same section Mr Boyd mentioned “an overall offer of 2.5 per cent for 2015/16 – this offer included the condition of the removal of automatic incremental progression, which in any event, is relevant to less than 10 per cent of teachers” I noticed he was very quick to dismiss 10 per cent of the work force. He should recalculate the average salary without the top 10 per cent of earners ie the principals and leadership of large schools who are receiving a salary commensurate with the number of pupils and staff. This I feel would give a more accurate average salary of teachers in the north instead of feeding the general public ‘misinformation’.
The public hear a figure of £40,000 and automatically think that is what all teachers receive. This is not the case.

Mr Boyd also states that salaries in the north “compare favourably with other graduate professions locally and is actually higher than the average teacher’s pay in England and Wales”. This comes across to teachers as ‘a put up and shut up’ attitude from management.

Teachers do not dispute the fact that we have not received a ‘reduction in teachers’ pay’, in gross terms. However, the problem I have is that from 2010 to 2016 the cumulative effect of inflation (general price rises) has been 16.4 per cent. In the corresponding period of time the cumulative increase in teachers’ pay has been a miserly 4.4 per cent. Why should we as public service employees not be entitled to a wage increase each year in line with the inflation rate as measured by the RPI? If we had received this since 2010 I genuinely don’t believe there would be a problem and thus industrial action would not be taking place.
If the government cannot control their monetary policy of inflation why should we as the ‘foot soldiers’ in the public service be made to suffer? 

Portadown, Co Armagh


Ireland’s firearm-owning community on warpath

What has upset the firearm-owning community in Ireland is that at a recent meeting of the Firearms Consultative Panel (FCP), an Irish minister appointed committee tasked to advise the minister for justice, equality and law reform on firearms issues, a report from the National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS), compiled with the help of a working group, which included the Sports Coalition (SC), was presented to the meeting for its approval concerning the issue of night-time hunting.

The use of firearms to hunt wild animals and birds at night is an ongoing issue in the Irish countryside with reports of illegal hunting, trespass, criminal activity and incidents involving the shooting of humans and farm animals.

The report made a number of recommendations to tackle the issue of the use of firearms for night time hunting. Among them was a ban on shooting between midnight and 6am from September 1 to March 31;  a requirement to inform the landowner of your hunting starting and finishing time as well as that the Gardaí be notified that you will be hunting in the area.

Irish firearms owners have been preaching for years that they are upholders of the law attaining to firearms usage so you would think they would welcome these recommendations.

Think again as the small Irish shooting community have gone into spasms of outrage in response to what appears to be sensible recommendations to tackle the scourge of night time shooting.

The display of such opposition to an attempt to put a control framework on night time shooting exposes the true nature of those who engage in the recreational killing of wild animals and birds.

They want unfettered access to their live victims even if it means disrupting the lives of those living in the countryside who wish no harm to wildlife.

Association of Hunt Saboteurs, Dublin 1


Irish and Ulster Scots are part of our shared heritage

The Irish language, indigenous to this island, is undergoing a renaissance. Right across our community people are increasingly enjoying and using Irish to enrich our towns and cities. Alliance recognises this contribution and we want to encourage the development of Irish as part of our commitment to a diverse, inclusive, modern society.

We also recognise – given the pressures on crucial public services like health – that any support for the Irish language must be in balance with other demands on the public purse. The sector has consistently delivered fantastic results with modest resources and it is welcome news that in Belfast only half the cost of a council officer is being met by ratepayers. If there is demand for support for Ulster Scots or minority languages then we will consider that too.

For Alliance, we want to see a society where everyone, regardless of their cultural traditions, enjoys full and fair participation. Irish and, for example, Ulster Scots are not in conflict but are complementary aspects of our shared heritage.
Be wary of anyone who tells you otherwise. Between Sinn Féin’s demands and the DUP’s hostility lies a way forward, where everyone in Northern Ireland can win.

Alliance, South Belfast


Trading places

Considering the long enduring links Ireland has with GB why do political parties here want to give precedence to Brussels over London?

Ireland is the UK’s fifth largest export market and imports more from the UK than any other country.

There are 500,000 people in GB who were born in Ireland. The same figure applies to the whole of Europe combined who have gone to work and build a life. Ten per cent of the GB population has Irish ancestral links. That’s almost one in six people. 

GB is our closest neighbour and we share a common language. 3,000,000 British tourists visit Ireland every year, more than any other EU country. We have more in common than some would like to admit.

Ireland should build a future out of the EU with GB, as an independent nation and form a mini western Europe trading block with GB if Brexit appears to be a success.

Belfast BT15


Councillors out of step with SF leadership

At a time when many within our various political parties are encouraging respect for each other I know that the unionist community were pleased at the welcome that Gerry Adams TD gave to Prince Charles during his visit to Dublin last week.
What a contrast to this was attempt by SF councillors to block the visit of Prince Charles to the Seamus Heaney Centre in Bellaghy. Why is SF in mid-Ulster out of step with the SF Leadership in Dublin?

Co Armagh

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Letters to the Editor